Mexico Essay Research Paper MexicoMexico is located

Mexico Essay, Research Paper


Mexico is located to the south of the United States.

It is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and

Belize, and Guatemala to the south. Mexican jurisdiction

extends over a number of islands offshore. The total area

of the country is 761,604 square miles.

Mexico is a Federal Republic, governed under a

constitution drafted in 1917. National executive power is

vested in a president, who must be Mexican born, and the

child of a native Mexican. The president is popularly

elected for a six year term, and may never be re-elected.

The president also appoints the cabinet, which is confirmed

by congress.

Legislative power in Mexico is vested in a bicameral

congress. The upper house is a senate with 64 members,

popularly elected for six years. Two senators are elected

from each state, and from the Federal District. The lower

house is a Chamber of Deputies, made up of 500 members

elected to three year terms. Three hundred are elected from

single member districts, based on population. The other two

hundred are elected according to a system of proportional

representation. Senators and Deputies may not serve two

consecutive terms.

The Judicial branch of government is headed by the

Supreme Court of Justice. It is made up of 21 full-time

members that are appointed by the countries president, with

the consent of the Senate.

The local government is made up of the Chief executive

of each state. Serving as a governor that is elected by

popular vote for a six year term. The governor of the

Federal District is appointed by the president of Mexico.

Legislative power in the states is vested in the Chamber of

Deputies, whose members are elected to three year terms,

either by election or appointed.

The Mexican population is composed of three main

groups. These groups include the people of Spanish descent,

Indians, and Mestizos (person of mixed blood, Spanish and

American Indian). The Mestizos are the largest of these

three groups making up over 60% of the population. The

Mexican society is semi-industrialized.

The population of Mexico as of 1990, was about

81,140,922. The estimated population density in 1990, was

107 people per square mile. Of this about 73% of the

population lived in urban areas.

The prevailing language of Mexico is Spanish, which is

also the official language of the country. There are also

about thirteen different Indian languages, that are spoken

throughout Mexico. Successive governments have instituted

educational programs to teach Spanish to all of the Indians,

this has helped many.

As of 1990, 27% of Mexicans lived in rural areas. They

live in rural areas so they can continue to preach and live

the life their ancestors lived. Many people don?t want the

influence of city life.

Primary education is free, and mandatory for all

children under the age of fifteen. Parochial schools were

legalized in 1991. Secondary schools emphasize vocational

and technical training. Although adult literacy have been a

major problem in the past. Campaigns by the government have

raised the literacy rate from less than 50% in the early

1990?s, to over 92% of persons aged 15, or more years in the

late 1980?s.

Each year in the late 1980?s 14.7 million student

attended about 82,100 primary schools in Mexico, and

approximately 4,4 million attended 19,100 secondary schools.

Also, vocational and teacher training schools numbered in at

about 6,500, and they enrolled nearly 2.2 million students


Roman Catholicism is the faith of over 90% of the

Mexican population. Mexico?s long tradition of official

anticlericalism ended in 1991, with the passage of the

constitutional changes. These granted legal status to

religious institutions and allowed parochial schools. The

Protestant religion is a small minority in Mexico, but they

are growing.

Most of Mexico is a huge elevated plateau, with

hundreds of mountain ranges and amazing coastal plains. The

central plateau is the biggest feature of this country. It

makes up over half of the area in Mexico. Elevation of this

huge plateau, varies from 6000 to 8000 feet above sea level

in the south, and 3500 to 4000 feet above sea level in the

north. Amongst all of this lies two huge valleys or

depressions called, the Bolson de Mapimi in the north, and

the Valley of Mexico, in central Mexico.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a low limestone plateau with

no rivers. The limestone dissolves in water and runs off

onto the coastal plain. Erosion has formed great pits and

were considered sacred by the Maya Indians. They are very

beautiful and attract many tourists.

Forests cover about a fifth of the land in Mexico.

Many different hardwoods such as, ebony, mahogany, and

walnut, are found in these forests and they prove to be very

valuable. Also, Sapodilla trees produce a gumlike substance

that is used in chewing gum.

Mexico also produces a wide variety of flowers and

cactus plants. With over thousands of different types of

flowers, some include geraniums and poinsettias. Also, in

the northern deserts there a hundreds of kinds of cactus


Deer and mountain lions are popular in the mountain

regions of Mexico. While in the northern deserts coyotes,

lizards, and rattlesnakes make their home. Also alligators,

jaguars, and raccoons are found in Mexico.

Hundreds of birds also migrate or live in Mexico.

These range from flamingoes to herons to parrots. Also, the

fish and shellfish are plentiful in the coastal waters,

lakes, and rivers. Tropical fish, such as swordfish and

marlin can be found in the reefs. While bass, catfish, and

trout can be found in lakes.

The climate of Mexico varies greatly from region to

region. The wide range in altitude greatly effects the

weather creating three main temperature zones. The tierra

caliente(hot land)includes regions up to 3000 feet. The

tierra templada(temperate land)which ranges from 3000 to

6000 feet, maintains temperatures between 50 to 80 degrees.

The third temperature region is the tierra fria(cold

land)and it ranges from 6000 and above. Snow caps are

always visible in this region. The temperature will usually

stay between 59 and 63 degrees.

The rainy season in Mexico generally lasts from May to

October. In the tropical regions the rain will come as

short, heavy, afternoon showers. The lack of rainfall in

the desert region, or the north has limited rainfall and

must rely on irrigation systems for the crops. Even during

the rainy season there is never as much rain as there is

needed. On average the temperate region only gets 25 inches

of rain a year. While in some regions they can receive as

much as 118 inches per year.

Mexican industry is probably the most developed amongst

Latin America. Until the late 1980?s most of the new

factories were in northern Mexico. In the late 1980?s the

United States invested heavily in building new factories so

they could produce cars and other things. Other factories

include paper mills, cotton mills, and petroleum refineries.

Other industries include clothing, fertilizer, chemicals,

cement, and leather goods.

About 26% of the labor force is engaged in agriculture

, and most of those work at communal farms. Agricultural

production has always been impaired by the lack of rainfall

received in Mexico. However irrigation systems have helped

out allot, and now Mexico supplies most of it?s basic needs

and exports produce. Livestock in the 1980?s included 31.2

million cattle, 16.5 million hogs, 6 million sheep, and 224

million chickens. Also they produced 41.5 million tons of

sugarcane and 11.8 million tons of corn.

The mineral resources of Mexico are extremely rich and

varied. Almost every known mineral is found in Mexico,

including coal, gold, silver, and copper. Mexico is also

the largest producer of silver in the world. There are

enormous petroleum and natural gas reserves, with some of

the world?s largest deposits, located in the Bay of

Campeche. Also, the forest that makes up 26% of the land,

produces very valuable wood such as ebony, walnut, and


In 1994 7.2 million foreign tourists visited Mexico.

Then in 1995 20 million tourists visited Mexico and over 80%

of those tourists came from the United States. It is so

filed with tourists because it is so beautiful and there is

so much to do. These things to do are grouped into five

main groups:Mayan World, Beaches and Recreational centers,

Prehispanic cultures, Colonial cities, and Natural Riches

Eco Tourism and Adventure. Many airlines offer specials to

people flying to Mexico and many cruiselines stop in

Mexico?s ports.

Mexico has a railway system that is nationalized, and

includes 16,340 miles of operated railway track. The

highway system includes 146,290 miles of road, only of which

45% is paved. The Pan-American highway system extends all

the way into the United States, and isn?t even completely

finished. Air services have been worked on extensively, and

now Mexico has over 1700 airports and landing fields.

Mexico exports many goods all across the world, some of

which include petroleum, cars, coffee, and the cocoa bean.

Mexico also imports cars, machines, and electronic

equipment. Some of Mexico?s trade partners include, the

United States, Japan, Spain, and Germany.

Mexico uses the peso as the form of it?s currency. The

peso was officially devalued by the government in December

1987 as 2767 pesos is equivalent to one United States

dollar. The central bank was started in 1925 and is called

the Bank of Mexico. It is modeled after the Federal Reserve

System in the United States.

Mexico?s gross national product increased 6.5% steadily

during 1965-80, but only .5% annually from 1980-88. Weak

oil prices and inflation led to a foreign debt of more than

100 billion dollars. However the economic picture looked

better at the end of the decade with a GDP of over 176

billion dollars(about 1760 dollars per capita). The annual

budget included 107 billion dollars in revenue and 122

billion dollars in expenditure.

In 1325 the Aztec, or Mexico, founded a settlement

named Tenochtitlan in an area surrounded by marshes in

Texcoco. As the settlement grew it?s military got stronger

and increased in size. Under Itzcoatl, the first Aztec

emperor, the Aztec extended their influence through the

entire Valley of Mexico. Thus upon this they became a super

power by the 15th century. Their civilization was highly

developed both intellectually and artistically. As they

grew wealthy and more powerful, they built great cities, and

became better organized in all things. However the Aztec

city eventually fell to the Spanish headed by Herman Cortes

in 1519.

On September 16, 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo a

priest in a small town of Dolores, raised the standard of

revolt for the government to banish Indian serfdom.

Although successful at first Hidalgo was captured and shot

at Chihuahua, in 1811. In 1814 another priest tried again

only to be defeated. However he did manage to proclaim a

republic in Mexico, free of Spain. A year after that he and

his army fell to the royalist party. The revolution

continued under Vicente Guerrero who headed a small army.

The Spanish rebellion in 1812 altered the rebellion in

Mexico. To stop all the fighting and rebellion Iturbide met

with Guerrero in 1821 and signed an agreement by which the

two combined forces to bring out independence. The last

viceroy of New Spain was Juan O?Donoju and upon his arrival

in Mexico was forced to sign the Treaty of Cordoba, marking

the beginning of Mexican independence


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